Sticky (or hot cross) buns
I was experimenting with slow-raised doughs over Easter this year. To my surprise, it really works! You can make the dough the night before, put it in the fridge overnight, and it rises absolutely beautifully.
I find popping the shaped buns in the pre-heated oven for 2 minutes for the final proving kick-starts the rising process again, resulting in amazingly big, fluffy rolls.
4 1/2 cups plain flour (560g ish)
2 x 7g dried yeast
1/4 cup Wattle Sugar
1 1/2 tspn Oz el hanout (or other native spice)
1 1/2 cup currants
2 eggs lightly beaten
4 tbspn water
1/3 cup water
4 tbspn Apricot Jam (or plain sugar)
Combine 4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt and currants in a large bowl.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the milk. Heat for 1 minute, or until lukewarm. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to currant mixture.
Use a flat bladed knife to mix the dough until it almost comes together, then using clean hands, finish mixing to a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth.
Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught free place for 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until dough doubles in size (OR place in fridge for at least 5 hours).
Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead for 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions and shape each portion into a ball.
Place balls onto the lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with oiled cling film and set aside in a warm, draught free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size.
Preheat fan-forced oven to 170C.
To make the flour paste, mix ½ cup plain flour and 4 tablespoons of water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag and snip off one corner to create piping bag, OR pour into piping bag with the smallest nozzle. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses.
Place into preheated oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.
To make the glaze, place water and jam into a small saucepan over low heat and stir until jam dissolves. Bring to the boil for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat. Immediately brush glaze over warm hot cross buns.
Serve warm or at room temperature.